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In 1607 America's first permanent English colony was planted on Jamestown Island, in Virginia. Soon afterwards, thousands of immigrants flocked to Jamestown and surrounding areas on the James and York Rivers, where they struggled to maintain a foothold. A number of these settlers--by their own prodigious efforts or by virtue of their financial investment in the colony--rose to prominence, leaving a paper trail that historians have followed ever since. The majority, however--the ordinary men, women, and children whose efforts enabled the colony to become viable--simply escaped notice. As a result, 400 years later, we're still curious about Virginia's earliest settlers--who they were, where they lived, and how they lived. To answer these questions, this book brings together a variety of primary sources that inform the reader about the colony's earliest European inhabitants and the sparsely populated and fragile communities in which they lived, resulting in the most comprehensive collection of annotated biographical sketches yet published.
From the earliest records relating to Virginia, we learn the basics about many of these original colonists: their origins, the names of the ships they sailed on, the names of the "hundreds" and "plantations" they inhabited, the names of their spouses and children, their occupations and their position in the colony, their relationships with fellow colonists and Indian neighbors, their living conditions as far as can be ascertained from documentary sources, their ownership of land, the dates and circumstances of their death, and a host of fascinating, sometimes incidental details about their personal lives, all gathered together in the handy format of a biographical dictionary.
Maps provided here identify the sites at which Virginia's earliest plantations were located and enable genealogists and students of colonial history to link most of the more than 5,500 people included in this volume to the cultural landscape--establishing definitively a specific location and a timeframe for these early colonists. Placing all this in perspective, an introductory chapter includes an overview of local and regional settlement and provides succinct histories of the various plantations established in Tidewater Virginia by 1635.
"Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635, connects the dots among the multitude of record collections. Tens of thousands of separate data points fit together to make whole lives, real lives, many lives--all told more than 5000 men, women, and children; whites, blacks, and Indians; freeholders, slaveholders, and bondsmen. Here at last, conveniently mustered between the covers of one book, is the largest congregation of Virginia founders since the colony's "ancient planters" took leave of James Fort.--Cary Carson, Ph.D., Vice President, Research Division (ret.), Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
"[In Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635, Martha McCartney] not only identifies the wealthy and powerful who were the politically and socially visible members of the community but provides an unprecedented documentation of those persons routinely overlooked in history yet whose service was key to the success of the colony. Presented alphabetically, those individuals of all social ranks and backgrounds that could be identified in the early immigrant community are identified along with the documentation that establishes their place."-Clarence R. Geier, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, James Madison University.
"Martha McCartney is the unrivaled authority on the primary sources relating to Virginia's first European explorers and settlers. This lucidly written volume will be of invaluable aid to scholars, and makes fascinating reading for all those interested in the period and setting."--Kathleen Bragdon, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Anthropology. The College of William and Mary.
"For those with early Virginia ancestry this is a valuable biographical compilation focused on activities and connections within the colony."--Federation of Genealogical Societies FORUM, Vol. 19, (Fall 2007).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martha W. McCartney, a research historian, is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. She was employed at the Virginia Research Center for Archaeology for thirteen years and, as a historian, coordinated the state's archaeological National Register and its review and compliance programs. From 1986 on, she has worked as an independent scholar, providing research support to Virginia's archaeological community. As a Colonial Williamsburg Foundation consultant, she was project historian for the National Park Service's Jamestown Archaeological Assessment. She is the author of four books, plus numerous published articles and reports, and has received five historic preservation awards. Her book, Jamestown Island: An American Legacy, was chosen by the National Park Service as "best in the field."